Friday, June 19, 2009
The primary reason I adopted "vehicular cycling" methods (even slow ones) is the old "you gotta get along to go along" adage. I discovered as an adult cyclist that if I obeyed the laws and controlled my lanes, motorists treated me with far more respect than if I rode in such a way as to communicate my belief that I really didn't belong on the road.
But as the Cyclist Inferiority Complex, or Fear-Governed Cycling, gained the upper hand, cyclists began demanding, and getting, exceptions to the rules of law. Special space, special rules, special considerations. While in some cases, these "special" features can be of benefit to all road users, in too many cases they come at the expense on somebody else, either a real or perceived expense.
When that happens, when the dominate group begins to feel that instead of "sharing the road", they are being asked to "give it away", tempers can begin to boil. Road rage directed at cyclists is growing in all the cities that are being touted as bike nirvanas: Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, Manhattan, Madison, and Boulder.
It's thin ice, folks. Dangerously thin.